The owner of the Kopper Kettle Tavern in Feasterville could face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Stephen Eckler, 68, pleaded guilty last week to willful failure to pay employment taxes.
Authorities say Eckler, of Ivyland, and former co-owner Robert Yost dodged more than $260,000 in taxes. They paid dishwashers in cash under the table between Mar. 2012 through at least Sept. 2016.
“For our federal tax system to work properly, businesses need to accurately report the wages paid to their employees,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain. “Criminals like Eckler chip away at the integrity of the system, which has a ripple effect on everyone in the community. We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute tax fraud with our law enforcement partners.”
Federal prosecutors filed charges against both owners last September. But then Yost died in November at the age of 52 years old.
Yost began working at the Kopper Kettle as a dishwasher when he was 14 years old, according to an obituary. Known as Kettle Bob, he helped to purchase the tavern roughly 20 years ago.
The Kopper Kettle Tavern is located on Bridgetown Pike in Feasterville. Founded in 1973, it specializes in seafood.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June. Eckler may have to pay restitution as part of his sentence as well.